Georgia County Government - May/June 2008 - (Page 49)

Feature Wireless Technologies Critical for First Responders to Have Effective Emergency Communications The question to ask ourselves is, “Are Georgia’s first responders getting the most out of their communication technology, and are they planning (and practicing) to use it in the most effective manner when emergencies happen?” Some of Georgia’s own experts don’t think so. “The one element many organizations in Georgia are lacking is a good communications plan that would interlink between local and state level. Across the board, not just for emergencies, that is an issue. Law enforcement particularly needs to have better communication between local and state,” says Chuck Ray, chief of Field Operations, GEMA. So, what can we do about it? Today, a new generation of reliable, high-speed wireless data networks is transforming how public agencies run an emergency operation. These changes, while relatively simple to adopt, can have a substantial positive impact on resolution, risk mitigation, tax-payer satisfaction and a team’s overall effectiveness during a crisis. sages puts less strain on the wireless networks and allows communications to get through faster and, sometimes, more reliably than voice or e-mail. Virginia Tech’s emergency communications system included e-mail, as opposed to text messaging, which could have been helpful during the campus shootings in the spring of 2007. In fact, many students used texting to communicate among themselves during the shootings. In addition, state and local law enforcement can utilize text messaging to get the word out about Amber Alerts. Amber Alerts can be communicated to consumers via text messaging, helping to fi nd missing children faster. Wireless routers are also a technology that’s been around a few years, but that should be utilized in modern emergency communications. A wireless router works the same as a router in a hardwired Local Area Network (LAN), but allows greater mobility for emergency crews on the go. Applications include the temporary set up needs for construction or operations trailers or the rapid deployment for emergency response centers or mobile command centers. As with traditional routers, wireless versions can serve as both the backup and primary connection. For example, Verizon Wireless’ BroadbandAccess (BBA) Wireless Router Solution is ideal for use where wired netWIRELESS continued on page 50 By Howard Faber Director, Business Sales, Verizon Wireless Georgia/Alabama Region he state and local first responder is called upon in our communities’ greatest times of need. Whether it’s responding to a single 911 call or mobilizing multiple divisions and hundreds of personnel to respond to a statewide disaster, planning, organization and communication remain the critical elements to successful incident resolution and risk mitigation. However, all the planning, practicing, drilling and three-ring binders full of disaster plans in the world won’t be sufficient if the communication technology you rely upon doesn’t work when you need it most. Effective wireless communication allows emergency responder teams to: • have fully mobile Internet access without the need for a Wi-Fi “hot spot”; • turn downtime, such as travel time to disaster sites, into productive information gathering and planning time; • eliminate repetitive data entry and/or erroneous communications by capturing information at the point of need. T Don’t Forget the Basics At times, our society can get so caught up learning about new technologies we forget some of the “old” ones are extremely effective. Text messaging may seem dated in today’s multimedia wireless world, but it’s a key technology that shouldn’t be overlooked in emergency communications. Sending text mes- All the planning, practicing, drilling and three-ring binders full of disaster plans in the world won’t be sufficient if the communication technology you rely on doesn’t work when you need it most. MAY/JUNE 2008 49

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - May/June 2008

Georgia County Government - May/June 2008
President’s Message
County Matters
ACCG 2008 Annual Meeting: Highlights
County Focus: Clayton County
Negotiating a Professional Service Firm Contract: Part 3
Counties Get Involved in Efforts to End Sexual Abuse of Children
Smart Growth Scorecard Gives Communities a Way to Grade New Developments
Wireless Technologies Critical for First Responders
Research Corner: The ACCG Policy Process
RDCs Assist the USS Georgia Flag Project
Extension News: Animals Take Spotlight in Disaster Planning
Georgia’s Grand Old Courthouses: Grady County
NACo News: Green Initiative Launches Searchable Database
Insurance News: ACCG Announces New Inmate Medical Savings Program
County Parade
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - May/June 2008